December 02, 2011

Phish: Hampton/Winston-Salem '97

Phish: Hampton Winston/Salem '97 7-CD Box Set

Fall 1997. Few tours are as cherished more among Phishheads. The Vermont jam band Phish broke new musical barriers on an almost nightly basis, inventing a new sound that later would be know as cow funk, stretching the songs with flawless segues. After releasing the 12/29 and 12/30 shows in full the new Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 7-CD box set contains the two shows at Hampton Coliseum, Hampton, VA a (11/21-22) and Lawrence Joel Veteran's Memorial Coliseum, Winston-Salem, NC (11/23). Eight hours of music in all, with two previously unreleased soundchecks used as filler for the final disc.

Phish loves musical surprises to catch their audience on the wrong foot and kicking off with a 17 minute plus cover of the Rolling stones'Emotional Rescue on the first night was a treat that few fans could have seen coming. They tease the song again at the end of Split Open And Melt. Half an hour has passed, and it's time for a breather, a short-and-sweet cover of Beauty Of My Dreams. Fat forward to Set 2 of the first night. This is 1997, the era of the five song (or less) sets. So we get Ghost > AC/DC Bag > Slave To The Traffic Light, fifty minutes of continuous playing an jamming. After Loving Cup and an Guyute encore guitarist Trey Anastasio bids the crowd goodnight, adding that he will them again tomorrow.

Mike's Song is a showcase for bass player Mike Gordon and is used to open the second night. Tied as per usual with I Am Hydrogen > Weekapaug Groove, the band settles into a deep groove for Harry Hood, with drummer Jon Fishman sharing the limelight with keyboard player Page McConnell. A good Hood is proof that the band is playing like a four-armed (and some feet) monster. Set 2 opened with a lengthy Halley's Comet, captured with a tripod and later used recently by the band for a video. With the rarity Black-Eyed Katy as a crowd pleaser for the tour veterans it was a set to revel about - never mind that McConnell had to strain his voice a bit for Bouncing Around The Room.

Night three in Winston-Salem saw a repeat of Black-Eyed Katy, comforting the fans who were shut out of the Hampton shows. A slowed down Twist is the highlight of the first set, as well as another memorable Fishman during Stash. Tapping into their resources the band unleashed a 30 minutes plus Bathtub Gin, followed by Down With Disease > Low Rider > Down With Disease before closing with Bold As Love the second Jimi Hendrix cover of the run (they played Izabella on the second night in Hampton). And then, after the Julius encore, it was all over.

Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 is worthy document of Phish 1.0. They are a different band now and the communis opinio will have it that those days will never return. By releasing archival like this one, they won't have to. There is still plenty of good stuff in the vaults to appease the lovers of old school jamming.

Phish: Hampton Winston/Salem '97 7-CD Box Set combo

Combo options:
Hampton/Winston-Salem '97 is out on December 6th on JEMP records. Besides the basic box set a few combos are available:

11/21/97 Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, VA
Disc One
Set I:
1. Emotional Rescue > (17:44)
2. Split Open And Melt (13:44)
3. Beauty Of My Dreams (3:27)
4. Dogs Stole Things (4:48)
5. Punch You In The Eye > (9:13)
6. Lawn Boy > (3:45)
7. Chalk Dust Torture (9:16)
8. Prince Caspian (10:33)

Disc Two
Set II:
1. Ghost > (15:48)
2. AC/DC Bag > (25:49)
3. Slave To The Traffic Light (12:32)
4. Loving Cup (7:39)
5. Guyute (11:19)

11/22/97 Hampton Coliseum – Hampton, VA
Disc Three
Set I:
1. Mike’s Song > (17:04)
2. I Am Hydrogen > (4:31)
3. Weekapaug Groove (14:52)
4. Harry Hood > (18:05)
5. Train Song (3:06)
6. Billy Breathes (7:05)
7. Frankenstein > (4:48)
8. Izabella (5:58)

Disc Four
set II:
1. Halley’s Comet > (25:59)
2. Tweezer > (5:58)
3. Black-Eyed Katy > (12:41)
4. Piper > (7:53)
5. Run Like An Antelope (13:38)
6. Bouncing Around The Room > (3:52)
7. Tweezer Reprise (4:06)
11/23/97 Lawrence Joel Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum – Winston-Salem, NC
Disc Five
set I:
1. My Soul (7:23)
2. Theme From The Bottom > (10:23)
3. Black-Eyed Katy (10:55)
4. Sparkle (4:02)
5. Twist > (10:21)
6. Stash > (17:03)
7. NICU (5:48)

Disc Six
set I, cont’d
1. Fluffhead > (15:39)
2. Character Zero (7:34)
set II:
3. Bathtub Gin > (31:57)
4. Down With Disease > (12:01)
5. Low Rider > (7:29)
6. Down With Disease (3:39)

Disc Seven
set II, cont’d
1. Bold As Love (7:57)
2. Julius (11:12)
filler: from 11/21/97 Hampton Soundcheck:
3. Hampton ’97 Soundcheck Jam (17:53)
filler: from 11/23/97 Winston-Salem Soundcheck:
4. Back At The Chicken Shack (11:21)


(Ticket stub thru The Butter Room)

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